Welcome to the First Issue of the NIEHS Global Environmental Health (GEH) Newsletter!
Why this? From its founding, NIEHS has recognized that our core mission of advancing environmental health science is integral to understanding and solving global health problems. A critical part of that is communication, which is the impetus for this bi-monthly newsletter. Our goal in bringing you this newsletter is to provide information about the NIEHS scientific, policy, training, and outreach investment and activities in GEH that is current, credible, and in context. We hope that by describing the many research projects and other activities that make up the institute’s commitment to GEH and putting them into a larger context, we can increase environmental health understanding and capacity to create effective public health collaborations and interventions. We’ll be sharing stories about projects and people across the NIEHS and its partners. We’ll also be highlighting funding opportunities, training programs, and important events and resources for GEH.
Why now? GEH is at a critical juncture. The United Nations, World Health Organization, and other global health research institutions and NGOs are expanding the focus of the global health community beyond infectious disease to also include emerging epidemics of non-communicable diseases. At the same time, research is increasingly demonstrating the importance of environmental exposures, especially during fetal and infant development, to risks of diseases later in later life. As the Millennium Development Goals are set to expire in 2015, the global community has the opportunity to broaden efforts to improve public health by incorporating health indicators into the new Sustainable Development Goals. And lastly, a continuous pattern of extreme weather events and persistent climate changes over the past decade have heightened awareness and concern about the long-term implications of climate change, particularly on vulnerable populations around the world, and the need to incorporate health concerns into climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.
Why you? We recognize that you are someone who shares our interest in GEH. And we believe that you also share our goal of building GEH community, scientific capacity, and awareness of the importance of environmental exposures in global public health. We hope that this newsletter will be a valuable tool for you in your work, and that in turn, you will help us accomplish our goals by reading it, sharing it with your colleagues, using it to make connections, and providing us with feedback on how to make it even more interesting and informative.
John Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Advisor for Public Health